Sorry for the delay. Let's begin.
What are the cubs going to do about 3rd base? Are they hoping someone is going to come up through the organization or will the 3rd baseman of the future be coming from somewhere else?
They like what Valbuena is doing right now. He probably gets the nod even when Stewart comes back. Long term they still have high hopes for Vitters. He's hitting now and looking good, but they are still concerned with his defense. Vitters will get a long look next spring and figures to get a September call up this year.
Any new trade rumors on Dempster, Garza, Soto, LaHair, Marmol? Is Maholm pitching himself onto the trading block?
Nothing new. Expect the Dempster talk to heat up once he pitches again, maybe as soon as Sunday. Maholm definitelyis showing some trade value. Travis Wood is probably desired more in a trade, but the Cubs like the option of keping him long term. If they had their choice they'd probably trade Maholm first.
what would it take to get starlin castro?
Not gonna happen. If you would offer the equivalent of two Starlin Castros they might think about it. Otherwise, no way.
Doug, assuming the Cubs end up with the worst record in MLB this year, is there any college or HS player that is currently the consesus #1 pick in next years draft a la Stasburg or Bryce Harper?
It's a good question. Haven't heard though. It really is a big deal. Talked to a scout recently that said the slam dunk No. 1 selection doesn't happen every year. He didn't feel there was one this year. So just because you have the No. 1 doesn't guarantee an All-Star for the future.
Hey Doug. Should we be concerned that Castro is hitting below .300? It seems as if lack of rest is taking a toll on him. Can we expect to see him improve after All-star break?
Nobody is worrying about Castro. He has shown that he can break out of mini slumps and do some quick damage. Wouldn't be surprised if he closes out the first half with some better play.
With Vitters now hitting over .300, when do you expect his call up?
If Anthony Rizzo needed a full season at Triple-A then Vitters is going to need that too. He's only had a half of a season there at this point. Again, the defense needs to improve. Everybody is sold on his ability to hit. He doesn't have to be error free, just better.
Doug, out of Baez, Lake, Almora (assuming he signs) and Soler, who do you think gets the first shot at the big leagues?
Tough to say without seeing Soler and how he adjusts over here. But Lake always comes up in conversations about the future. He's a a guy that could be playing every day at 3B eventually. That's a ton of 3B talent to go along with Vitters.
Doug,What are the Cubs to do with Volstad? He claimed to be a changed man, but ended up getting blown out again in a matter of one or two innings.
It's not good. He seems to have lost the coaching staff and that never bodes well. He's going to have to follow the plan. And he has to throw strikes. If he doesn't trust his stuff he won't have much success. Look for him to go back to Iowa soon, but if Demp and Garza are traded they're going to need starters.
Hey Doug,Bryan LaHair seems to be playing well in RF, do you see him being their for the rest of the season and into the future?
He's been OK out there in right, but it really isn't the place for him. It's the only way to get those two LH bats in the lineup, though. He'll stay there the rest of the season. Perhaps he gets moved eventually to somebody that wants to pay a steep price for a first baseman.
With Rizzo at lineup and now that the cubs are winning... Do you see the cubs still trading good players out of the cubs(dempster) etc.... Or do they plan to stay the same and finish of the season with the same team...
You mean, do they keep the current club and try to make a run at the playoffs? No, no and no. Expect Dempster and Garza deals to be discussed extensively. The Dempster move figures to go down first.
Thoughts on a crosstown trade and does Theo and Kenny get along with one another?
Theo and Kenny get along fine. They chatted behind home plate for a long time before one of the games at The Cell. Cross-town trades are never a good idea though, whether it's here, NY, LA, the Bay Area, etc. Nothing worse than your guy starting to dominate on the other side of town. Not the best way to do business.
What are they doing with Lahair? Seems like he should be left in against Lefties despite his numbers, maybe he can learn from watching Rizzo. Are they thinking about leaving the lineup pretty consistent moving forward?
His numbers are terrible against left-handers. Seems like he strikes out every time. That being said, he will get the start in right against the lefty tonight.
Doug, If you were to make a guess, how many Cubs on the current roster will be traded by the July 31st deadline?
I'd say at least two of the group that includes Dempster, Garza, Soriano and LaHair. But truthfully, Soriano isn't going anywhere. There is always the under-the-radar moves too. Maybe a guy like Soto goes in a package deal or one of the outfielders on the bench like Baker or Johnson to even out a trade.
You think a Soto trade would get us something good in return?
Soto by himself? No.
Doug, how much longer is Ryan Dempster going to be out for?
Looks like somebody missed all of the news out of Atlanta yesterday. Dempster wants to come back Sunday. If not then, probably one of the first three games after the break.
Is there any organization Theo and Hoyer are specifically targeting for a trade because they have their eyes on a specific prospect.
Not so much a specific prospect. But after adding position guys like Almora and Soler (assuming Almora signs, of course) and seeing Rizzo burst his way onto the scene, a high-level pitching prospect that can be ready in two years figures to be high on the list.
is there any trade interest in Dejesus? In think outfield depth is good right now
They'll listen to offers for anybody. He's had a decent season and has been well worth the price tag of a little more than $4 million this season. Wouldn't be a blockbuster though. He has value as a solid clubhouse guy and a veteran that sets a good example with his work ethic.
Bruce, i see the cubs building the foundations of a good team on the field, but who is in the pipeline to become an Ace for this team. In Beantown theo was able to have a stable of arms
Bruce? Why do you hurt me like that? Yes, there is a need for a top-of-the-rotation guy. Garza and Samardzija don't project out to that level. When they are ready to spend big on the free-agent market, perhaps in two years, that might be the route they go.
As an Indians fan, I want Soriano at the deadline. The problem is the price in '13 and '14. Do you see Theo eating a lot of the money on the contract both this year and the remaining years in order to move him?
They would eat a lot of it. They probably aren't ready to eat all of it, though. That's a ton of money left on that deal at $19 million per season. Looks like he stays on the North Side.
Do you think we will sign both Underwood and Almora before the deadline?
All indications are that both will be signed. The deadline is July 13.
Do the Cubs and LaHair become an even more likely partner for the Dodgers since the deal for Lee fell through.
Makes sense for the Dodgers. You have to figure they have already called to see if he's available. But because salary isn't an issue here, the Dodgers are going to have to pay dearly with prospects.
If the Cubs came into the year knowing its a lost year and have no chance of winning consistently why dont they call up some of the young guys and make this season essentially a year long tryout?
Seems like that would be a good idea, but if you ask guys to develop beyond the level they should be playing in, they won't develop at all. Doesn't do any god for your developing guys to get dominated by major-league pitching. They'll get here when they're ready to get here.
Do you see the Cubs making a big move at the deadline or waiting for Free Agency?
When more prospects are ready to break through, that's when the Cubs will add through free agency. Don't want to pay big money on a four-year deal for somebody and that first year is wasted as the team continues to struggle.
I like the idea of trading some SP to get some younger talent but my concern is we really need major league talent along with the prospects in any trade to fill out the rotation. Do you really think trading Garza/Dempster/Maholm is gonna happen? If they do, who is gonna take their spot?
Rebuilding is a tough pill to swallow sometimes. The World Series isn't happening this year. Makes sense to add high level young talent for proven guys to make sure there is a chance of World Series in the future. Doesn't do any good to do things half way. Guys like Wells, Coleman and Volstad will have to get it done if others are traded.
Thanks for the questions everybody. Stay cool in the scorching Chicago heat. Who would have thought the 92 and humid air of Atlanta would be much more pleasant?